News and Notes

MSU Showcases Land-Grant Heritage at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is held every summer in Washington, DC, on the National Mall. Over a million visitors attend the event each year. The 2012 festival program, "Campus and Community: Public and Land-Grant Universities and the USDA at 150," commemorated the creation of the land-grant university system in 1862. UOE's Arts and Cultural Initiatives director C. Kurt Dewhurst served as national chair of the Research and Planning Committee and co-curator of the program. MSU's display on the Mall featured partnerships with Native American Head Start programs in Michigan to create an innovative model for early childhood education. Researchers Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Patricia Farrell, Jessica Barnes-Najor, Kyung- Sook Lee (all UOE), and Hope Gerde (Human Development and Family Studies) have worked with the tribes to develop methods for incorporating children's native language and home culture into these programs and to promote children's academic readiness.

MSU Earns National Recognition for Community Service

In March the federal government named MSU to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. The honor roll recognizes universities across the nation for their efforts in service-learning, faculty engagement, and precollege programs, among other criteria. MSU is one of 110 schools named to the honor roll with distinction this year and the only university in Michigan on the list. The University has had a place on the honor roll every year since 2006, when the program was launched.

Photo of Jena Baker-CallowayJena Baker-Calloway, has been named the first director of the MSU Detroit Center. Baker-Calloway's appointment in December 2011 adds to the growing presence of Michigan State University in Southeast Michigan. She will be responsible for expanding community connections, identifying opportunities for community-based scholarly work, and overseeing daily operations of the Center and the MSU Detroit YouthVille research facility.

Karen McKnight Casey and Laurenza Riojas of MSU's Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement were among the 24 recipients of a 2012 Community Service Award from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

Photo of C. Kurt DewhurstC. Kurt Dewhurst, was elected a Fellow by the American Folklore Society at its annual meeting in October 2011. An honor bestowed by peers within the organization, Fellow status is a societal recognition given to individuals who have made contributions beyond the ordinary.

Photo of Michael S. ElledgeMichael S. Elledge, associate director of MSU Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting, was elected president of the Michigan Usability Professionals' Association in November 2011. The organization promotes the principles of user-centered design in products, software, and websites; fosters professional community for Michigan user interface designers, usability engineers, human factors engineers, and others; and organizes events on topics of interest to its members.

Photo of Hiram E. FitzgeraldAssociate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement Hiram E. Fitzgerald was recognized in December 2011 for service, support, and contributions to the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP). DAPCEP's mission is to increase the number of historically underrepresented students who pursue educational programming in science, technology, engineering, and math. Leading the Evaluation Committee, Fitzgerald developed and implemented a process and an instrument to assess the attitudinal effect of DAPCEP courses.

Photo of Rex LaMoreRex LaMore, director of MSU's Lansing-based Center for Community and Economic Development, will oversee the first university-based center in Michigan to support collaborative research in economic development innovation. The project, funded by a $915,000 grant over five years from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, involves working with other colleges, local and regional governments, private businesses, and other groups to identify and share innovative ideas and practices.

MSU students Kendra Shirey and Anthony Sasinowski were two of only seven students in the state to receive Outstanding Community Impact Awards at the Michigan Campus Compact's annual student awards ceremony in April.

  • Shirey, a senior at the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, collaborated in a statewide series of dialogues about the arts, created a book on arts opportunities for K-12 students, collected quantifiable data to support the arts for legislators, and co-founded the Alliance of Creative Students, which works to engage and support a connected community of talent in the Greater Lansing region.
  • Sasinowski, a graduate student in accounting, logged countless hours working for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which provides no-cost tax preparation assistance for low- and moderate-income residents of the Greater Lansing area. He spent four years with VITA, filing paperwork, communicating with IRS representatives, creating and recording volunteer trainings, and preparing taxes.

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